“Defining the mechanisms of osteo-angiogenic coupling in bone development, homeostasis and fracture repair. “
The CarBon consortium is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind cartilage to bone transitions in hopes of applying this knowledge to develop new treatment options for large bone defects and osteoarthritis.
Endochondral ossification is a known mechanism used by the body to generate and repair long bones. In embryonic bone development, it starts with the formation of a cartilage mould that is later invaded by migrating osteoprogenitor cells (OPC) and endothelial cells (EC) in a series of events that lead to an almost complete cartilage to bone turnover, with only the growth plate and the articular cartilage left unturned. Recently, it has become clear that the spatial and temporal relationship between OPC and EC is central for cartilage invasion and is believed to be a key step in generating bone. More generally, over the last decade evidence has accumulated that bone formation (osteogenesis) is heavily dependent on the integrity and growth of skeletal blood vessels, an interplay that has been termed osteo-angiogenic coupling. The aim of this PhD project will be to find which molecules and signalling pathways are involved in this “coupling” that is poorly understood